As you look for youth Sunday school curriculum you will find that there are two main teaching styles. These are the master teacher format and the small group format. If you are new to the curriculum world this insider lingo can be confusing and a little misleading. That is why in this article I want to clear up what these two phrases mean and show you that they are not that complicated. They merely describe two ways to teach curriculum.
The first phrase that you will come across more often than not these days is the master teacher format. This phrase can be intimidating when you think about the pressure of having to be a master teacher. But it does not mean that you have to be a master. What it means is that you will start in a large group format with your entire student ministry together. This could also be just your middle school or just your high school ministry depending on how you divide your ministry. While in this setting you have a single teacher, that for some reason is called the master teacher, that relays all or a portion of the curriculum to your students. Then after 15-30 minutes the students will be broken up into small groups. These groups are usually divided by age and gender but how you divide them is completely up to you. In these small groups your students will either go over more of the curriculum or more than likely they will go through some small group discussion questions.
The second style of youth Sunday school curriculum you will see is written in the small group format. This type of curriculum is for your traditional Sunday school format. In this format your students start out broken up into small groups, again by whatever criteria you prefer to divide them by, and then they stay in that group with their teacher the entire lesson. This style will have a mixture of teaching and discussion and is what most churches have used for years and many continue to use.
There is not really a style that is best. It really comes down to your needs and what your church is used to. For example, if your church has traditionally used the small group format it may not be worth rocking the boat and changing to the master teacher format. Not to mention that the master teacher format can involved finding more leaders and some of your long time teachers may not like just leading small group discussion. On the other hand the master teacher format is nice if you struggle to find people who truly love to teach and are gifted in it, but you have more than enough people ready to simply love on and build relationships with students. Ideally, a very good youth Sunday school curriculum will be formatted in such a way to give you flexibility to go back and forth between both options. This way you can adjust as you have need.